Acid Jazz continue their long term love affair with that most iconic of instruments, the Hammond organ and his little pal, the Leslie organ…
The organ can often take a back seat in the pecking order of great Jazz instruments but underappreciate it at your peril. The likes of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Booker T and Ray Charles, to name but a few, made the instrument their own while crafting jazz cuts of dazzling brilliance.
While organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith, he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk. Since the same band – vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, guitarist Eddie McFadden, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Leo Stevens – played on both sets, and since both albums aren't very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same CD. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy, because one doesn't usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos.
The Hammond organ, especially the B-3 combined with the Leslie speaker, has long been an integral part of modern popular music.You can hear the "classic" sound of the Hammond organ in blues, gospel, jazz, rock, and even on some contemporary singer/songwriter songs (try to picture Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" or Procol Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" without that distinctive sound).
At times, McDuff demonstrates how soul-jazz organ stars used to make albums back in their '60s heyday, playing then-current pop hits like "The Age of Aquarius" and the theme from Mission: Impossible (which, thanks to cinema, was a hit all over again in 1996 when this CD was made). We also hear McDuff trying out his vocal cords for the first time on Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry"; actually, he merely talks the lyrics over the rhythm section – and at 70, he's entitled to this charming lark.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. While the phenomenal success of George Benson’s Breezin’ (1976) album may have fattened his wallet; it led the guitarist down a path that dismayed jazz critics worldwide. Indeed, the bulk of Benson’s albums over the past 20 years have featured considerably less jazz and, unfortunately, more pop. Not so with The George Benson Cookbook (1966). This sizzling CD features the then young, hotshot string-picker on 14 swingin’ bebop/soul-jazz tracks. Benson kicks things off in rapid fashion with the aptly titled, "The Cooker." Not only does this track feature blazing licks from Benson, but baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber and organist Lonnie Smith also weigh in with tasty solos.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. George Benson's first LP for Columbia – a hard, heavy, soul jazz slammer that bears no resemblance to his overproduced work of the 70s! The album's a real cooker – recorded hot on the heels of Benson's classic work on Prestige with the Jack McDuff group, and sounding a lot like McDuff's hard wailing organ jazz of the same time. George is working with a group that features a young Lonnie Smith on organ, plus Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Ronnie Cuber on sax, and Charlie Persip on drums – all tightly coming together, and jamming hard on the album's short cooking tracks. Tracks include "Clockwise", "Jaguar", "Hello Birdie", and "Bullfight". Plus, the CD adds five bonus tracks, including "Sideman", "Minor Chant", and the previously unreleased "J.H. Bossa Nova" and "Clockwise (Alternate Take)".